As I approach a decade as your mayor, I have learned so much about our village; its history, traditions, methods of operation and idiosyncrasies.
I thought I would share the following which often elicit a “really?” or most likely “I never knew that”—a veritable store house of factoids should we ever have a Bronxville Village Jeopardy Game.
The village has had 36 mayors, four of whom were women. The first 17 mayors were called president of the village and one’s portrait is hung in Village Hall only after the expiration of one’s term of office.
When the village was incorporated in 1898, there were 300 residents. The 2010 Census pegged our current population at just under 6500 people, half of whom are under 18.
There are 1678 parcels of property that make up the geographic boundary of the village. Of that number, 1595 are classified as taxable.
Residents live in 1200 single family homes, 127 condos, 800 co-ops and 264 rental units.
Our beautiful library was officially chartered in 1906. For 30 years prior, we had a lending book service with the shelves populated by more than 2,500 books donated via bins at the railroad station.
The library was housed in the original Village Hall which was located in the Pondfield Road building now home to the soccer store. In addition to a library, the Village Hall complex included the firehouse, police station, large auditorium, gymnasium, bowling alley and even a swimming pool.
The Gramatan Hotel across from the old Village Hall had 300 guest rooms, three restaurants and a grand ballroom. Torn down in 1972, its brochure said it “featured luxury without ostentation.”
The Public Works Department uses approximately 700 tons of salt on our roads each winter. Salt orders have to be placed one full year in advance so need must be estimated. Our supply actually arrives on barges via the Port of Newark.
Our recreational facilities consist of paddle and tennis courts. During the last calendar year, we issued 66 resident and 22 non-resident tennis permits, and 39 resident and 113 non-resident paddle tennis permits.
Our police officers wear Kevlar vests and carry a Glock. 40 caliber handgun. The vests must be replaced every five years as Kevlar disintegrates with age. To maintain weapon proficiency, all officers receive training twice a year.
There are 1,114 parking meters throughout the village generating more than $1 million in revenue annually.
Our parking meters are not in use on Sundays, after 6 p.m., and on six holidays—New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Meters are there for revenue obviously, but also for space turnover to benefit our merchants. The days of usage of the meters have no relationship to particular respect for one holiday over another, rather usage time relates to when shops are open for business. As illustration, meters are free on Memorial Day when most shops are closed versus operational on Veterans Day when all stores and restaurants are open.
When meters are free, folks often park all day and head to the city, thereby severely curtailing shopping/parking opportunities for potential customers to our stores.
Vehicle and traffic tickets, such as speeding violations or improper cell phone use, are not a source of revenue for the village, rather they actually cost the village money to issue. Regardless of the size of the ticket, the village only receives $15, with the State of New York receiving the other $100 to $250. If you factor in the cost of the police officer, the Village Court staff time and that of the judge, issuing these tickets is a losing proposition.
There are 192 fire hydrants in the village maintained by United Water. Thanks to a change authorized by the Public Service Commission, all water users and not just property taxpayers now absorb the maintenance cost of approximately $90,000 annually.
As a registrar of vital statistics, Village Hall staff issued 1446 birth certificates and 326 death certificates during the calendar year 2014.
The village has no county roads and only one state road—Route 22 which was built by the state without any catch basins or drainage system on the entire Bronxville stretch.
Scout Field is actually owned by Westchester County with more than 95 percent of the land in the cities of Mount Vernon and Yonkers. The Village of Bronxville’s boundary only extends a few yards adjacent to Alden Place. Because the land is not in the village, our police department has no jurisdiction to police Scout Field including the baseball field.
The most frequently asked question at Village Hall relates to special pick-ups of bulky waste by our Public Works Department. A service, rather than a profit center, “special pick-ups” are always on the second day of your regularly scheduled garbage pickup. Goods must be curbside by 7 a.m. on that day. Schedule and payment may now be done online with use of a credit card.
The village is a very interesting, dynamic place and the mayor’s chair offers a bird’s eye view of all things great and small that come together to define the Village of Bronxville.